Aileen Croucher

Obituary of Aileen Hannah Croucher

November 21, 1928 – Montreal, Quebec

February 2, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


With heartfelt sadness, we announce the passing of Aileen Hannah Croucher (nee Rusk) of Calgary, AB, on Friday, February 2, 2024, at 95 years of age.


Born on November 21, 1928, in Montreal, QC, to recent Scottish immigrant arrivals, James and Janet Rusk, Mum was the first of her immediate family to be born in Canada. Growing up in Montreal in the 1930s, along with her sister Betty and brother Jim (Sonny), Mum’s family experienced depression-era hardships, followed by the numbing war years of the 1940s. During her early teens in the 1940s, Mum struck up an overseas pen pal friendship with Heather Howe, a fellow teen from Bristol, England. This led to regular exchanges of letters for nearly 75 years, sharing thoughts and secrets as their lives evolved from teenagers to wives, to moms, and to grandmothers.


On a blind date orchestrated by her sister Betty, Mum met the great love of her life, Bruce Thompson Croucher, whom she married in Montreal, on June 4, 1949. Soon after marrying, Mum and Dad, two young city kids set off to carve out their own adventure. First moving to Nova Scotia to try their novice hands at farming (a short-lived experience), and then embarking on the nomadic life of a military family. The military took Mum and Dad and their sons Fraser and Scott to homes in Chilliwack, BC (twice), Werl, Germany, and Dartmouth, NS.  


Following Dad’s early retirement from the military, and through his new career with Parks Canada, Mum and Dad continued their roving ways with postings in Caledonia, NS, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, and Medicine Hat, before ultimately settling in Calgary in the early 1980s. Mum truly lived the Canadian experience in that she lived and saw so much of the country back and forth from east to west, several times.


Mum had her first real job at age fourteen in the office of the Montreal Star newspaper. Her working career included various secretarial and office manager positions, following family moves around the country, also including many years in the Juvenile Offender Probation Office in Chilliwack, BC, and the Charlottetown Festival for theatre on Prince Edward Island.


Mum displayed a generally quiet and reserved nature, yet was also very independent-minded, with strength of character, and sometimes unyielding feistiness. She was well-read, enjoyed playing bridge and poker, was well-versed in current affairs, and was not shy about sharing her strong opinions on all matters political (and if you agreed with her, then you were right too!). She was a great fan of the British Monarchy, our own family expert on crown lineage and history. She was a fountain of facts, usually on display when watching her favourite TV program, Jeopardy, often correcting the mistaken responses of the program participants.


For many years, Mum was deeply involved with the Eastern Star organization. First as a member, and later twice serving as the Worthy Matron of the Bow Valley Chapter in Calgary. Mum’s travels included Scotland several times, Hawaii, Palm Springs, Mexico, and in 2005, Holland for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. 


Mum’s love for family and close friends was at her core. Her devotion to Fraser and his wife Rita, Scott and his wife Darlene, was extraordinary. Her love and support for her granddaughters Erin and Gillian was unconditional. A favourite family memory was the many Christmas days spent with Granny as she showered her family with more gifts than we all needed. It was her way of showing her love for family. She had a special place in her heart for her nieces Jackie (Peter) Smillie of Calgary, and Janice (Frank) of Montreal.


Mum was predeceased by her parents James and Janet Rusk; her sister Betty, her brother Jim, and at an age far too young, her beloved husband Bruce. She is survived by son Fraser Croucher and daughter-in-law Rita Bendig (Calgary), very special granddaughters, Erin Croucher (Windsor, Colorado), and Gillian Croucher (Calgary); son Scott Croucher and daughter-in-law, Darlene Theriault (Halifax).


Mum lived a long and full life. Over the last few months, her health deteriorated, requiring her to leave her home to reside in a long-term care facility for a brief period prior to her passing.


At Mum’s request, no funeral service will be held. At a later date, an inurnment service will take place, resting her with her parents as part of a Celebration of Aileen's Life in Montreal.


If friends so desire, memorial donations in Mum’s honour can be made directly to the Veteran’s Food Bank of Calgary, #114 - 4303 26 Street NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 7K2, Telephone: 403-277-8387,


Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Aileen’s family here.


In living memory of Aileen Croucher, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, Ab t2x 3j3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.

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